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Make sure to check out our in-house reviews of anti-theft products and vehicle history reports, tips on how to protect your vehicle, and the informative videos our staff has tracked down. We scour the web for news on auto theft and highlight some of the most interesting stories in our News section.
The Auto Theft Problem
Although it has steadily declined over the last number of years thanks to advances in anti-theft technology, motor vehicle theft is still the most expensive property crime in the United States.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports that 2017 continued the trend of declining national vehicle thefts. A comprehensive list of the top hot spots for auto-theft in 2016 can be found here. .
The FBI includes the theft or attempted theft of automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, scooters, snowmobiles and other vehicles in its definition of motor vehicle theft. About $5.9 billion was lost to motor vehicle theft in 2016, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. The average dollar loss per theft was $7,680. Motor vehicles were stolen at a rate of 236.9 per 100,000 people in 2016, up 6.6 percent from 2015.Chop Shops
Theft of vehicles has become a big business. Because the parts of a car are worth more collectively than an intact car, many stolen cars are delivered to chop shops. These shops specialize in stripping cars, disposing of identifiable parts and selling others through a national network. Chop shops can meet the demand for parts more quickly and, typically, more cheaply than legitimate parts dealers.
The fight against auto theft is hampered by public indifference to the crime and the fact that many in law enforcement view it as a low-priority item. Studies have shown that only a small fraction of those arrested for car theft go to prison. Typically, they pay a small fine or are placed on probation for the first one or two offenses. Because of crowding, those who go to jail or prison probably won't be there long.
Some people regard car theft as merely a crime against property that doesn't hurt anyone. But even before carjacking, auto theft was threatening people's safety and breeding more crime. Crashes involving stolen vehicles take lives and cause numerous injuries each year. Stolen cars often are used to commit other crimes - to transport drugs or as a getaway vehicle for a robbery, for example.
Others figure that because insurance pays for stolen cars, no one is hurt financially. But people who buy insurance foot the bill for car theft losses - whether they have claims or not. Theft accounts for a sizable part of the comprehensive coverage premium. Those who live in high-theft areas pay more for their insurance than those who don't.
Thankfully, considerable progress is being made by the insurance industry, law enforcement, auto manufacturers and citizen backed efforts like The Nation's Neighborhood Watch for Stolen Vehicles in efforts to thwart it.
Auto Theft Information Clearinghouse